Energy Industry

In Poland, the production of primary energy is based mainly on fossil fuels. They are the 9th biggest deposits in the world. Hard coal and brown coal have been number one resources for many years. They cover almost 56% of the demand. The crude oil is also important – as its contribution amounts to 25%. Renewable energy submarket develops strongly in Poland. According to data specified in goals of Poland’s energy policy, the share of RES in final energy consumption is expected to increase in 2020 to 15.5 percentage points, i.e. for electricity it is supposed to reach 19.3%; for sector of heating and cooling – 17% and for transport fuels 10.2%.

According to data provided by the Polish Government, primary energy consumption within the years 2010-2020 will rise at an average rate of 1.5% per year, while the use of renewable energy sources in the same years, should reach 12%. According to the directive 2009/28/EC, EU member states are obliged to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption and, what is important, in the transport sector which, in fact, generates the biggest part of harmful emissions. Therefore, the overall balance of energy consumption and CO2 emission to the atmosphere has become a priority for change in the coming years for most EU countries, including Poland.

Dynamic economic growth in the last 10 years, a growing number of economic entities and internal market of over 38 million of inhabitants, clearly illustrates an increase in energy demand. According to the report prepared by Energy Market Agency commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, the demand for electricity in Poland will grow in 2030 to 217.4 TWh. Comparing this result to the previous years, there has occurred a significant growth, which points the need to invest in new generation capacities.

Wind Power

Wind power resides on the leading position among renewable sources in Poland. According to data of Energy Regulatory Office, at the end of September 2012, wind power plants produced a total of 2 496.748 MW of power. Furthermore, at the end of 2015, the power generated by wind power almost doubled to 4 582.036 MW.

Currently, wind power accounts 57.6% of all sources of electricity with renewable origins. It was ranked first among renewable energy sources already in 2009. Most wind farms are located in the north-western Poland regions. Western Pomeranian Vivodeship is a leader, it is followed by Wielkoposka and Pomeranian Voivodeships. A comprehensive summary of the number of wind power stations in Voivodeships is presented in the table below. It is worth noting that Poland is a country that has favorable climatic conditions. As one can see on the wind map, provided above, the level of wind power is very favorable in Poland.

The technical potential of wind energy is primarily related to spatial distribution of open spaces (with low roughness of the ground and without object disturbing the flow of air). These are predominantly agricultural areas, which currently account to approx. 59% of the country (approx. 18 million ha). According to the forecasts of the changes in structure of land use by 2020, there will not be any significant modification that would limit the area (possible limitations amounts to approx. 1%). With possibilities of today’s world’s energy technologies, it is assumed that it is possible to technically effectively manage the areas with wind speed exceeding 5m/s and the energy density greater than 200 W/m2 (at a height of 50 m above ground level). According to the report „Wind Power – current condition and prospects” developed by the Institute of Renewable Energy (IRE), the real market potential of wind energy in Poland until 2020 amounts to approx. 11.5 GW of onshore wind energy and 1.5 GW of offshore wind energy.

Vertical wind turbines

Due to vast range of wind-forced amplitudes there is a certain need to develop technologies which allows the wind power station to work (to generate electricity) at wind speed under 2 m/s and to maintain its functionality even with wind speeds of 50 m/s. Therefore, Poland introduced highly innovative project of vertical wind turbines, which surely became the first of its kind in the world. This innovative power station has been developed by noteworthy Polish engineers in cooperation with domestic experts from Green Vertical Turbin sp z o.o. which owns copyrights laws of aforementioned technology. What is more, the project still marks progress due to the cooperation of companies associated with Green Energy Cluster, which gives a possibility of constant development of the project in cooperation with experts across the Europe.

Specified power stations are characterized with high efficiency – up to 70%. It, in fact, provides profitable correlation of cost of product and effectiveness of power station, which significantly lowers the cost of electrical energy. At the same time, modularity of construction provides a possibility to flexibly adjust produced power to user’s requirements and needs – segments of turbines can be configured into one or multi modular columns and also three-column towers, receiving by that a power station adequate for prosumer activities as well as for industrial use. Moreover, thanks to a unique construction, wind turbines may be localized close to each other without any risk that turbines will deprive themselves of energy. This is particularly important when it comes to wind farms, because it allows to increase density of turbines disposal, decrease total cost of ground required for construction and essential infrastructure.

Singular segment may generate 200W from the kinetic power of the wind when the wind speeds up to 1.5 m/s and 20000W when the wind speeds to 30 m/s. Evidently, those are short time results because acquired power is determined by the speed of the wind, which is not a fixed value. The framework of a vertical wind turbine is 3.2 meters wide and 3 meters high, total weight of segment: 5.2 tone. Segments can be combined into towers and placed anywhere. Such a turbine is quiet, clean and harmless to human being. Forte of this innovative wind turbines is its resilience to unfavorable wind conditions and stability of construction during the work in adverse wind situation. High wind velocity of turbines (construction produces energy when winds pressure varies from 0.5 to 60 m/s), independence from wind direction and resistance to wind disruptions assures deployment of wind turbines in areas, where use of traditional wind turbines is not possible or impeded by too weak or too strong gusts of wind. Further, use of intelligent system integrated with energy storage allows to gather overcapacity of energy and automatically use it to sustain and stabilize workings of turbines when wind conditions are unfavorable.

Modular vertical wind turbines, due to its construction values, are totally neutral for natural environment: they are emission¬-free (do not generate vibrations and noise) and are safe to birds and bats. As an effect, mentioned wind turbines may be deployed everywhere, where use of typical vertical and horizontal turbines is not possible, in other words at built-up areas, settlements, industrial and environment fragile areas. At the same time, thanks to earlier mentioned advantages, installation of wind turbine is conducted according to simplified procedure of acquiring environmental permits, which significantly shortens the time related to investment process as well as reduces the costs involved. Vertical wind turbines are available in two versions – steel and aluminum, which allows to deploy turbine close to or at already existing buildings (at roofs, posts, existing mast constructions) and also offshore including ships, which is limited when it comes to traditional wind turbines.

So far, vertical axis wind turbines were used only in prosument activities. Thanks to advantages of aforementioned technology this situation will not only change but also may revolutionize industrial energy. By investing and using technology of vertical wind turbines created by Polish engineers, one can expect that share of energy obtained from renewable sources of energy may increase in energy-balance sheet of every country.

Solar power

Energy from solar radiation has also greatly developed in recent years in Poland. There has been the largest percentage spike at the turn of 2013 and 2015 in this area. Photovoltaic power plants in Poland produced 71.031MW in 2015. It has to be noticed that in 2009, the level of produced energy was merely 0.001MW and in 2010 it increased to 0.033 MW. The following years also gave only slight improvement, since 2011 marked just 1.125 MW, 2012 – 1.290 MW and 2013 – 1.901 MW. A significant rise was seen just in 2014; as a result of an increased investment, the number of photovoltaic plans increased majorly, reaching a spike of nearly 20 000 MW. In 2015, there has been a tremendous investment development, compared to the previous year, a 4-fold increase of installed capacity was recorded as the value of produced energy came to 71.031 MW. Prosumer installation support played a very important role.

The balance of Poland’s sunlight is positive. Map of sunlight shows that Poland, compared to other countries in central and northern Europe, has the highest rates. A smaller amount of solar energy is reported in Germany, Great Britain and northern countries. The level of sun exposure is even and constitutes 100 kW/m2 on average. Slightly higher values can be seen in Lublin Voivodeship, max 1050 kW/m2. The smallest sun exposure is attributed to Silesian Voivodeship. Locally, a bit less than 1000 kW/m2. Solar radiation statistics per year also look positively, around 80% of total annual amount of sunlight falls to 6-7 months of spring and summer. In recent years, the data have been recognized by the investors and individuals that explains such an immense increase in investment in this energy sector.

Energy-pumped storage

Currently, the only widely used method of storing huge amounts of energy are pumped storages. This is due to the fact that they get more energy from the network, than bring it back. At the time when cheap electricity is available, by using pumps the water from a tank, located below, is pumped to the upper reservoir. Electricity is then converted to a future kinetic energy, used to drive electric turbines. In times of peak energy demand, water from the upper reservoir is drained to the bottom, then the turbine passes from the motor-pump to turbine¬-generator mode.

Power pumped-storage depends on the size of water tanks and the level of difference between them. The tanks can be natural or artificial. The efficiency of energy pumped storage ranges from 65 to 85%. This means that for every 10 kWh taken from the system for pumping water, there are recovered from 6.5 to 8.5 kWh to the top, at a time when the energy is needed. This is a very good result compared to other energy storage technologies. The investment costs of building of pumped-storage are indeed, enormous; however, the corresponding difference in electricity prices between the peak and the lowest level of demand, investment is likely to be profitable. Talking about the thermal power plants and nuclear power plants, it is in turn, an opportunity to work with a constant, more money-saving burden. The greatest losses in energy production occur when switching from high demand for energy during the day and low demand at night.

What is interesting, is that the greatest advantage of this type of plant is the speed of its launching; the full power is achieved in just a few minutes. The operating costs are also characterized by small amounts. More importantly, hydroelectricity does not emit any greenhouse gases, therefore the use of hydro¬-pump storage does not degrades the natural environment. In fact, there are exist several hydro-pump storages in Poland. Those with the highest power are as follows:

Power plant Żarnowiec -716MW

Power plant Porabka-Zar -500MW

Power plant Solina -172MW

Power plant Żydowo -150MW

Power plant Czorsztyn-Sromowce Wyżne -94,6MW

Power plant Dychów – 9.3 MW

The use of wind energy in the energy-pumped storage

The renewable Energy Sources, as a result of unstable weather conditions, are unable to adapt to the momentary demand for energy networks. It seems that the more important issue than energy production itself, would be its storage in times of overproduction and distribution at times when demand is too high or the production is too small. Creating energy storage system, powered by renewable energy resources, would create chains of production and distribution that could effectively compete with traditional energy. Techniques for the production of energy from renewable sources are already developed to such an extent that their use in appropriate scale could eliminate oil, coal, and even nuclear power from the market. It is therefore, a matter of time when green energy will become the primary source of energy in the world. One can notice the advancement in the storage of small amounts of electricity. The development and miniaturization of various kinds of batteries and accumulators proceeds directly exponentially. Nevertheless, there are exist few methods for the storage and distribution of commercial quantities of energy.

One of the existing and proven methods – are pumped storage. These plants consist of two reservoirs, the upper and lower, which are connected to a pipe system with a large cross-sec¬tion. At the lower tank are mounted the turbines that are also functioning as a pump. The energy production itself basically recover the gravitational energy of falling water pipes, using electrical turbines. When the energy is not produces, the same turbines crowding the water from the lower to the upper reservoir, using the energy taken from the network or installation of renewable energy resources. This is a very advantageous solution from the perspective of their performances – energy pumped-storage is able to generate maximum power within a few minutes after switching it on.

Power plants of this type do not require the slow process of increasing the power in the high demand and quenching, during the so-called plain energy. The process of raising and reducing the amount of energy in the traditional energy is very expensive and consumes large amounts of fuel. The very process of adjusting the amount of energy produced, to the demand, generating a loss of fuel already at the stage of production. Pumped storage are able to compensate the daily demand cu¬rve for electricity, acting as a support for other energy sources or as a replacement in case of failure. Construction of the energy system should include a plan for providing scenarios of surplus and deficit of energy. That is why it is important to diversify sources of energy so that the system can cope with even extreme conditions. The combination of energy production using organic methods and storage of produced energy is a recipe for success.

The existing in Poland pumped storages can be easily converted into the power plants through Vertical Wind Turbines. The largest power plant of this type located in Żarnowiec, an object designed to support never operating nuclear power plant. An increase of the upper reservoir by 15 meters, can generate from 400 to 500 MW of power daily. After the modernization of the pumping system, the filling of new upper reservoir would have consumed to about 300 MW. The modernization of this facility is indicated for proper functioning and increasing of energy efficiency. Power plant Żarnowiecka is placed on a long narrow bay of the Baltic Sea. It is an area with a high level of wind, ideal for wind power. They may be also placed in almost any density and their power is configurable, it is possible to generate their means of energy that would be consumed for filling the upper reservoir of the new power plant. The most effective place to locate the wind towers would be the area of a nuclear power plant in Żarnowiec. Vertical Wind Turbine are very powerful and fully scalable. Since they are characterized by the construction segment, it is possible to build objects with a height, up to 60 m. Such source of clean energy would generate about 200 MW of power for pumped-storage and approximately 200 MW of continuous power for the location covered by the power plant. This would create a stable and secure system of energy supply to local inhabitants and resolve the energy problems of the region.

Geothermal energy

Although Poland is not in the common areas of volcanic or tectonic division, geothermal conditions of the country are exceptionally good. It stems from the fact that Poland is situated in the areas of sedimentary and structural basins, filled with high temperature waters. As a result, almost 80 % of Poland is covered by 3 geothermal provinces: Carpathian, Subcarpathian and Central European. According to various sources, Poland’s greatest technical potential from renewable energy lies in geothermal energy. In Poland, the geothermal waters are at depths ranging from 1 to 10 kilometers, and their temperature ranges from 30 °C to 130 °C, while in some of them the temperature reaches even 200 °C. The optimal level, at which the extraction and use of thermal waters becomes profitable, depends on their depths, salinity and temperature. As experts claim, the depth level of 2 km with temperature reaching 65 °C and salinity of max 30g/l – is the most favorable condition. In addition, the performance of the resource is important in that type of investment. Here, the investors that are planning any investment project should pay their particular attention to the duration.

In Poland, there are also several natural outflows of thermal waters. One can find them in the Sudetenland – Cieplice and in Lądek Zdrój, these objects are exceptionally interesting in terms of tourism. What is important, is that the geothermal energy of all renewable energy sources has the highest technical potential in Poland. It amounts to 1 512 PJ on average, which is a demand for heat of close to 30% in the overall national balance. According to a majority of domestic and foreign experts, it is very meaningful that a significant advantage in competitiveness among all renewable energy sources lie in ecology and eco-nomy of extracting geothermal sources. It is worth mentioning that in the case of geothermal resources, their location often overlaps with areas of high population density, either urban or rural. Deposits are, among others, in: Warsaw, Szczecin, Łódź, Toruń, Poznań and Płock. Such location has a positive impact on reducing the cost of investment concerning, among others, proper preparation of industry infrastructure and costs arising from the construction of a installation for the transfer of water over long distances.

Prospects for the development of acquiring energy from this source, according to most studies, are very promising. Currently, the research and development projects, aimed at supporting and determining the development of energy generation from geothermal sources, remaining in the advancement process. There are several investment projects, which are in various stages of implementation, including those in Gosty¬nin, Kleszczów, Poddębice, Poznań, Toruń, where geothermal drillings have been already done and their exploitation for heating, therapeutic and recreational purposes is expected to begin soon. Already operating installations and the ecological and economic benefits resulting from them as well as the interest in new projects are a sign that geothermal energy is prospective in Poland.

Broadly defined heating, agriculture, recreation and therapeutics are exceptionally promising for the use of geothermal energy in Poland. In selected locations, it is also possible to carry out the work on building the binary installations for cogeneration of electric power and heat (using temperature of 80-100° C). Major growth opportunities are associated with heat pumps.1

In Poland, there are particular factors fostering investment in the geothermal energy development, starting with a particular amount of resources in the country, demand, a large number of potential recipients of geothermal energy, a high level of scientific community’s involvement as well as their cooperation with experienced designers, drilling companies and installation contractors, ending with the need to comply with international and domestic obligations concerning RES and sustainable energy development. In a way, all these factors determine the interest and development of this energy sector, which according to forecasts, is going to expand in the coming years Smart Grids

Poland, like all European countries, would also face up the risks arising from both the scope of the energy resources scarcity and too low efficiency of energy production, transfer, distribution and use. The reality somehow forces the market to introduce a new quality to the power grids. In Poland, many elements of the infrastructure network are already more than 40-year-old. Thus, operators have been investing in the modernization and expansion of the network for many years in order to provide increasingly higher rates of grid reliability and security of supply. Traditional investments of operators, dealing with distribution systems are directed towards adjoining new customers to the network as well as the construction and modernization of the existing network infrastructure. Intelligent power networks (Smart Grid) by using the latest technologies, allow to improve the efficiency, reliability and security of the electricity supply chain. Smart Grids are able to efficiently integrate the behavior and activity of all users connected to them, both generators as well as consumers, in order to create energy system that would be efficient in terms of economy and compliant with the principles of sustainable development, which is characterized by low losses, high quality and security of supply.

In the last decade in Europe, the company has invested more than EUR 5.5 billion in approx. 300 smart grids projects. In 2012, there have been conducted about 280 projects all over EU countries (plus Switzerland and Norway), which were focused on research, demonstration and deployment of smart grids; and about 90 of them concerned smart metering. According to the “Smart Grids Projects in Europe” report, the total value of investment in these projects estimated about 1.8 billion. In Poland, there are just several such projects, and their value has not exceed $ 150 million a year. However, the awareness of energy market users increases year by year, and the investment in building the Smart Grid are getting higher. Evaluations of IBM clearly indicate that investments in Smart Grids in Poland are to accelerate over the next two years. This is due to the huge demand, forced by Smart Metering that will be used, among others, for the settlement of potential prosumers.

Smart Metering

Smart Grids, where individuals have communication between all market users, also require Intelligent measurement systems (Eng. Smart Metering – SM). These electronic systems measure the energy consumption, giving more information than a conventional meter, as well as send and receive data using electronic communications. These systems include: smart electric meters of energy consumers, telecommunication infrastructure, a central database and management system. Smart metering is an integral part of smart power grids and should not be considered separately from them.

The installation of smart electricity meters is stipulated in the European Parliament and Council Directive 2009/72/EC of 13 July 2009 concerning common rules for the internal electricity market and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC. By 2020, at least 80 percent of consumers are to be equipped with smart metering. An intelligent meter differs from the standard one. It is no longer a separate device, from which only the user can read the data, but it is a whole set of devices for measuring electricity and transmitting the measured data via data communication system. Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) estimates that the investment in equipment related to the construction of smart grids in Poland (mainly smart electric meters) alone, requires PLN 7-8 billion by 2020. Demand for this type of solution is proven by the fact that such meters in conjunction with the household appliances management infrastructure will be able to allow manufacturers to monitor the operation of equipment, such as a washing machine or refrigerator, and thus, optimize their production in the near future. In case of TV sets, it will allow to gather information crucial for broadcasters, e.g. the number of viewers.

Industrial Transmission Network

The forecasted increase in domestic demand for electricity and the lack of spare connection capacity definitely illustrate the need for increased investment in this sector. The modernization of the national transmission system and 400 kV cross-border links are essential. The new 400 kV lines, which transmit the power from large power plants, require adaptation to high power transmissions. In Northern Poland, modernization of the existing transmission lines and construction of new highest voltage are necessary. This applies to already existing lines, connectioning such places as Poznań – Gorzów – Szczecin, Poznań – Piła -Żydowo – Koszalin, Żydowo – Gdańsk, Pątnów – Bydgoszcz – Gdańsk; and possibly building of new lines: Gorzów – Piła; Żydowo- Słupsk; Płock – Olsztyn; Bydgoszcz – Grudziądz. One must also take into account the fact that by 2020 there will be the need to modernize and construct approximately 2000 km of modern lines at 400 kV and build approximately ten new highest voltage stations. The estimated average cost of investments in the settling 1 km of new 400 kV line, is determined at the level of PLN 2.5-3.5 million. In turn, the highest voltage stations will absorb an amount of PLN 20 million up to PLN 50 million. These elements constitute the transmission network development plan for the years 2010 – 2025 carried out by the Polish Power Grid.

Thermal Power 

In 2010, the volume of domestic production of thermal energy, generated by a licensed heating companies, amounted to 462.5 thousand TJ. The volume of heat sold in total amounted to 434 thousand TJ and compared to the previous year, it increased by 9%. According to the Ministry of Energy, in 2013 licensed companies produced 395 PJ of heat and electricity production in high performance cogeneration amounted to 24.7 TWh, which accounted for 15.1% of total national electricity production. Over the last 10 years, heat production of licensed firms declined by more than 15%, although there was 16% increase in the length of heating networks at that time. It results from still increasing energy efficiency in our country, for example, thermo-modernization of buildings, replacement of district heating and energy-efficient operation of customers. Over 62% of the heat, produced by licensed companies, comes from cogeneration. Cogeneration, for many years, has been an indispensable element of the heating system. For the coming years, it is projected that there will be further increase of cogeneration share in the domestic production of both heat and electricity. Due to the fact that the primary energy savings is a way of fulfilling the EU climate objectives, cogeneration is an important element of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2012/27/EU. Coal – 76% – dominates in the structure of production of thermal energy. Other fuels used, include, among others, fuel oil, natural gas and biomass. It should be noted that the coal use gradually decreases, while the biomass use increases. In 2010, the installed capacity of licensed producers of heat amounted to 59.2 GW and the achievable one to 58.1 GW. In relation to 2002, the installed capacity decreased by 16.5%. In 2010, licensed heating companies had 19 400 km of networks at their disposal. However, it should be noted that this number included heating network that connects the heat source with heat nodes as well as network of low

Values – external receiving installations.

Thermal Energy Market in Poland requires fundamental changes, in some Polish regions where CO2 emission allowances are significantly exceeded, for example, in Lesser Poland and Lower Silesia. That is why it is important to invest in innovative technologies and innovations, both technological or organizational ones. Investment opportunities should be seen in virtually every area of the market, in particular:

modernization and expansion of the transmission network of high and medium voltage,
construction of a nuclear power plant,
modernization and replacement of existing power units.


„Geothermal energy in Poland – level of use, development prospects” Geological search techniques. Geothermy. Sustainable development. No. 1-2/2011.
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